Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022
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Zaheer, Blow-Up

A comeback story unravelling well. The left-arm pacer's been brilliant in England.

Zaheer, Blow-Up Zaheer, Blow-Up

The Late Swing

  • His haul of 157 Test wickets places him ninth on the list of 15 Indians with more than 100 Test wickets
  • Strike rate (60.3 balls per wicket) is the best for Indian bowlers with more than 100 Test wickets
  • It's only the third time he's played seven or more Test matches without a break. Earlier occasions: 13 Tests in 2001-02 and nine in 2004-05.

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All taut lines, angles and sinew, he always had the persona and sleek physique tailor-made for those macho aftershave ads—assuming he shaved often enough. But Zaheer Khan probably took too long to live up to that manly swagger of his. In fact, till a little over a year-and-half ago, he wasn't known for any consistent gillette-edge pace bowling. Rather, he courted a permanent status as just another B-player in the long list of India's cricketing heroes. Younger men were swarming all around, his match-fitness was constantly in doubt and, to top it all, everyone remembered him for that ghastly, nervous first over that lost us the 2002 World Cup final.

All that was redeemed, though, as he morphed into a lethal swingmeister under low-slung English skies last week and carved through the England top order—twice. It's 2007 and Trent Bridge in Nottingham. The left-arm swing 'n seam craftsman has just spurred India on to only its fifth victory in England in 75 years. With his 15 wickets so far in the series, Zaheer has reclaimed the mantle of the 'premier fast bowler' in a team brimming with pace aspirants.

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